OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - “Nixon’s Ghost”

(07/17/2004)

By Tony Russell

[Nixon’s ghost] “Ooo-ooo-ooo. Who summoned me from the beyond?”

“It’s just you and me, sir. Thanks so much for coming.”

“What doo-oo you-oo want?”

“I just have a few questions, sir, and I was afraid they wouldn’t be answered this side of the grave.”

“Can I claim executive privilege if I don’t like the questions?”

“I’m afraid not, sir, but I guess you can vanish again if you take a notion.”

“What the heck, I’m game. Shoo-oot.”

“Well, the first one is about that eighteen-and-a-half minute gap on that tape…”

[Nixon laughs.] “Number three forty two-oo. I knew-oo you-oo’d want to ask about that.”

“Yessir, the one where you were talking with Haldeman about the Watergate break-in.”

“What do-oo you-oo want to-oo know?”

“First of all, the White House claimed that that eighteen-and-a-half minute stretch had been ‘accidentally erased’….”

“Right.”

“…but experts said that whoever erased the tape stopped and started ‘Record’ between five and nine times, so the erasure could hardly have been accidental.”

“D----d experts. Who-oo would have thought they could tell that much?”

“So it wasn’t an accident?”

“Of course not! J---s, son, use your brain! The tape was incriminating. It was in White House custody. I erased it. But who-oo’s going to call the President a liar, even when he is one? It was a win-win situation! Or at least I thought so at the time.”

“Well, that’s what everyone but your most partisan supporters thought, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.”

[Nixon chuckles.] “Last time I looked, you-oo couldn’t enter an admission from a ghost.”

“The other thing I wanted to ask about was President Bush’s military records.”

“Stole a page from the old master, didn’t he?”

“Sir?”

“You-oo-’re talking about the microfilm containing the payroll records for the Texas Air National Guard? The microfilm that was ‘accidentally destroyed’? For the exact time period when people claim he went AWOL during time of war?”

‘Yessir.”

“I love the way they handled it. Got some underling in the Defense Department to issue a statement that ‘The Defense Finance and Accounting Service has advised of the inadvertent destruction of microfilm containing certain National Guard payroll record’—followed by a statement that ‘Searches for back-up paper copies of the missing records were unsuccessful.’ In other words, ‘All the evidence has been destroyed, and there’s not a d----d thing you-oo can do-oo about it’!”

“Sir? I have to ask. Did you have anything to do with the destruction of this second tape—the Bush tape?”

“You-oo flatter me, son. No, the most I can claim is to have been an inspiration to some.”


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